The United Kingdom as any other country has its specialties in terms of foods and drinks. We do understand there are quite many articles on the web on this topic but we also think you can still find our opinion and advice useful. If you are vegetarian or do not like old traditional British food, make sure you check out our article on International food in the UK. For your attention the list of favourites amongst Britons and Arrivals.
But firstly, some odd things about eating and drinking in the UK in general:
- Tea – you will definitely hear British inviting you for tea or talking about what they are going to have for tea tonight. Don’t get mistaken, they are not talking about having a cup of tea, the “tea time” in Britain is the time for evening meal around at 5-6pm.
- Tea with milk – British are famous for putting cold/hot cream or milk in their tea. However, even the majority of them do not know why the hell they are doing this. I will tell you why. Long time ago Britons used to drink from porcelain cups and they used to crack whenever you pour boiling water into them. Everyone already knew back then that you cannot mix cold and hot water since you might end up having diarrhoea or so. So Britons decided to try pouring cold milk into the cup before adding hot water. I honestly always thought that this is the other way around, but apparently this is the correct way to make tea with milk.
- Get pissed/pissed up - Obviously if you use the dictionary you will probably unable to find this meaning anything other than to pee in your pants. British however use this word as a synonym to get drunk in the way you can barely remember anything from last night.
- Pub/Bar Crawl – This has now become a part of the culture in the UK. The pub crawl is an event when a few friends or colleagues from work meet up and go drinking. The unique thing about this that they go and have each drink at a different bar. Students sometimes even have the whole path set out and have a destination location where they are supposed to get totally pissed up and start “crawling”.
Food in the UK
Fish & Chips – this is typically fish fillet in breadcrumbs with chunky chips. This is a signature dish for British and they get surprised when they hear that people don’t like fish & chips! I personally had them a handful of times and I cannot say this is bad but obviously this dish is not even close to the healthy choice.
British Pies – I always associated pies with something sweet and creamy, but British pies are way different. You can get British pies with meat fillings like steak, pork and beef, chicken or even fish. There are vegetarian options as well but the most important touch is gravy sauce. British pies are generally not dessert option as they make up a tasty main meal if you add some mashed potatoes and mushy peas on the side.
Beans on Toast – this is what you will see some British having for breakfast and sometimes for lunch. Just toasted bread and some microwaved/pan heated beans (Personal recommendation – Heinz beans)
Jacket Potatoes - you can get jacket potatoes in the UK as a type of the potatoes in the UK. They are quite big since one or two at most should be enough for your lunch or dinner. The best and the quickest way to make a jacket potato is to stab it with a fork a few times, put it on the plate and put it into the microwave for 10-15 minutes (depends on how powerful your microwave is). Then take it out cut it in and put a little bit of butter in, roll the skin on the salt and put it in the pre-heated oven for 5 more minutes. You can have it with what ever filling you want: tuna, cheese, savoury cheese, beans, egg mayonnaise, etc. My personal preference is cottage cheese and cheddar cheese filling.
Scottish Haggis - it is something you must try when you visit Scotland. Butchers take out all “boring usual meat” of the sheep and take “the best” : heart, liver and lungs then add onion, some spices and traditionally cook in animals stomach. Sometimes it is served with pepper sauce, but be cautious: it is usually very spicy and kills the great taste of haggis.
Yorkshire Puddings – one of the ancient British recipes is to serve Yorkshire Puddings with gravy, chicken and vegetables. I really recommend to try these out if you like pancakes as they are like pancakes but in the form of a little cup. They go nicely with all meats!
Sunday Roast/Dinner – this is a traditional lunch meal served in all British pubs on Sunday daytime. It usually consists of roasted meat (pork or beef), yorkshire puddings, roasted potatoes (mash if that’s your preference) and steamed vegetables. Let’s not forget the gravy as well. Quite a sensible and healthy choice to try out!
English/Scottish Breakfast – not a standard continental breakfast! You get your plate filled with sausages, egg, bacon, fried/grilled tomato, fried mushrooms, toast and baked beans. In Scotland you can expect to get black pudding and haggis as well. It is very heavy breakfast with loads of different tastes in one plate so make sure you try a little bit of everything and the next time you order only ask for the ingredients you really enjoyed.
Shepherd’s Pie – traditional British meat (usually beef or lamb) pie with mashed potatoes on top all baked in the oven. Give it a go!
Drinks in the UK
Irn Bru – this drink is more popular in Scotland than coke and pepsi combined! The most interesting fact is that is illegal in some countries as it contains one ingredient which has the “magic power” to kill the hangover. We have tested this ourselves and I could feel some positive “effect”, but not sure if it is because of this ingredient or just because it is like any other fizzy drinks which you are so desperate to have after a long night out. Irn Bru tastes is like fruity bubble gum! There is a sugar free option as well which obviously has less taste in it but give it a go you might prefer it!
Strongbow – the champagne taste cider which helps you to get drunk very quickly. Be careful if you are not experienced with this, 3 cans will make you proper dizzy! It is quite affordable at about £1 for a can obviously depending on what size of pack you buy.
Lambrini – if you are student, you will be probably getting this as for a cheap wine option. Well, it is needless to say very cheap and the bottles are huge! But I suggest looking for 3 wine bottles for £10 offers and get some other “proper” or at least better quality wine than Lambrini. PS. if you get Echo Falls – it’s effect is in its name – someone will definitely fall after drinking it LOL. IAMintheUK recommend Hardy’s, Paul Masson and Frontera branded wine – good and affordable.
Irish variety – Ireland is the UK neighbour and you can find some of the best Irish drinks here in the UK. I would recommend trying the famous Guinness beer, Magners and Bulmers ciders. All three taste amazing!